2018-05-10 / Editorial

Kudos to council for change on bond vote

Too often today, politicians stick to their positions out of fear of angering their base rather than in response to the wants of the majority of their constituents.

That’s why it was heartening to see what happened Monday with the town council. Its decision to change course and split the bond votes for the school, golf course clubhouse and library showed it was willing to admit a mistake and listen to the will of the people.

Forcing voters into an all-or-nothing situation very likely was going to be a lose-lose this fall. The four supporting councilors’ mea culpas in the light of a petition with nearly 800 signatures extricated them from an issue that was becoming politically untenable, but the style in which they did so was deft and gave a nod — as two of them noted — to how democracy should work.

While it’s unknown what may have occurred this fall, the prevailing wind seemed to be blowing in the direction of the bundled bond failing as the growing perception was it was a way to get the golf clubhouse — likely the least popular of the three — to pass on the backs of support for the other two projects. While it is difficult to say exactly how widespread the opposition was — dissenting voices always are much louder than supporting ones — the number of signatures gives a good indication.

The councilors say piggybacking the clubhouse as a means to get it passed was not their intent. They provided fiscal reasons and need as the basis for their decision. We’re willing to take them at their word as it is an unfair proposition to ascribe intent to someone and impute their motives just because it fits a larger narrative.

It’s also best for the town if each of these projects receives a clear mandate from the voters. Then no one can say their tax bill was adversely affected by a project that unto itself may have had little backing just because projects with vast support dragged it across the finish line.

Our voices do matter — that was plainly obvious Monday. The democratic process definitely was in full view and, for that, we as a town are all the better.

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